3/9/2011 to 3/11/2011 | India , Manipur

Temple Meal: Eating with the Meiteis, Imphal

Deepak took us to a meal at one of the local Temples.  Meiteis are Vishnavite Hindus, and several of the Hindu temples in Imphal put on a daily meal for there devotees in the late morning.  Deepak assured us that this particular temple, the Shri Shri Narsinga Mandir, was the best.  It reminded me of the Sikh meals, except a fee of 60 rupees was taken and the Meitei meal was much better than any meal I’ve had at a Sikh temple.  You get what you pay for (Sikh meals are provided free on a donation basis).  I’m generally not one to praise vegetarian food but this all-you-can-eat meal with numerous vegetable dishes, several types of dhal, a few sweets, and some fresh fruit to finish it off, was exceptionally tasty.  I fittingly stuffed myself to the admiration of the sounding Meiteis as well as those serving the meal.

After the meal Deepak took us out to a village outside of Imphal.  Where Sarah, struggling with what she would later learn was giardia, promptly threw up the entire meal we had eaten that morning.  She assured us it what tastier going down.  Robin and I, had suggested rather than completely wasting the food she should throw it up near the adjacent house’s pig.  The actual site she chose was just out of reach of the pig, who no doubt was extremely disappointed he was unable to partake in the “sloppy seconds.”  She later claimed this tease was intentional citing that “despite being quasi-vegetarian, she couldn’t handle that someone may be eating that pig sometime soon and could get whatever bug she had.”*  Vomiting aside, it was good to escape the traffic choked, dusty and dirty streets of Imphal, and see a bit of rural village life.  We were all getting a bit fed up with Imphal so the timing of the Indian President’s two day visit which started the following day was not particularly convenient.  The visit prompted a two day bandh (general strike) to coincide with the visit, by one or more of the plethora of anti-government organizations.  This ensured we would be stuck in Imphal, and our less than lovely dwellings at the Hotel White Palace, with little to do but watch military convoys pass through the empty streets while the city shut down in protest to the presidential visit.


*Editor’s note: Sarah was “disappointed” that the original version of this post did not include the aforementioned vomiting story,  the author has agreed that the omission was indeed a travesty and subsequently rectified the oversight.

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